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  Carol's Poem


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"When I Was Born, How Did You Know I Was Carol?"

I was three and a half when baby Ruth was born.
Of all the names in the world, her name was Ruth.
"Here is your baby sister, Ruth."

How did they recognize her?
Could they tell just by looking at her that she was Ruth?
Was her name revealed to them in some special way?

They had just brought her home.
I stared at this tiny sleeping infant, this Ruth.
She looked just like a regular baby.
I didn’t see anything in her face that identified her as a Ruth.
(But I didn’t see any other name there either.)
I tried, though. I studied her face, looking for clues.
I wondered why I couldn’t see her name there.

I was three and a half.
I pondered this mystery.

I thought, could they tell right away, when I was born, that I was Carol?

Contemplatively I wondered about this,
this being immediately known, recognized as Yourself, at birth.
Somehow they had known I was Carol;
and all this time, sure enough, I was.


What a shock, a letdown, when I later realized. . .
They choose any name and attach it to us.


I could have been anyone else.


Carol Pullen   Oct. 1994

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